Vision for Prospect House in Norwich given unanimous approval of planning committee

Archant Prospect House building on Rouen Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Prospect House building on Rouen Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Guidelines shaping the future development of the Prospect House site in Norwich have been given unanimous approval.

A vision for how the Rouen Road site - home to the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News - could be redeveloped was put before members of Norwich City Council's planning committee on Thursday.

The development brief sets out the potential way the site could be developed, which could include a mixture of homes, high-end office buildings and open space. It would see the current building demolished.

Members of the committee were presented with a concept for the 2.5 acre city centre site, with publishers Archant looking to move out of its headquarters.

Members were told that as part of the process, the company had asked Historic England to assess the building's architectural and historical merits of Prospect House.

Through this process, the Bernard Meadows sculpture at the entrance to the officers was listed, but Prospect House was granted immunity from listing.

Following the presentation from council officers and discussions, members unanimously agreed to the brief, which will provide the guidelines for any developers looking to take on the site.

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During discussions, it was made clear the council would be in favour of newspaper production continuing in any new office space provided.

Ben Webster, the case officer who worked on the brief, said: 'We would be keen for Archant to remain on site. I very much hope at least one of the offices would be a home for them.'

Labour councillor Roger Ryan added: 'If we can do anything to try and make sure Archant stays on site we should do - I think its particularly important we keep them in the city.'

Keith Driver, chairman of the planning committee, floated the idea of homage being paid to the newspaper industry through any road or building names that are included in any eventual development.

Brian McCarthy, group finance director of Archant, said: 'We believe the planning brief approach makes for better planning decisions and we commend the council's officers - in particular Ben Webster - in taking this approach forward.'